tv The Civil War CSPAN August 9, 2015 8:00am-8:56am EDT
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ,coming up next t university professor discusses the oh freed slaves and the years following the american civil war. she discusses economic independence, education, and political rights as the acute aspirations over african-americans and -- aspirations over ofican-americans and -- african-americans and thoughts kosovo their struggle to achieve that.
this program was part of the symposium hosted by the lincoln group. >> and you may wonder why we have this old podium. this pulpit is the one in the old church that pastor gurley would have used during the pre-martial era while the old church was in action. to introduce our next speaker, i will like to bring and the editor of our "lincolnian journal," wendy swanson. wendy swanson: i am very honored to be standing at this pulpit and very honored to be introducing our next speaker, edna greene medford, who many of you know. shoes are very treasured friend of the lincoln. she is a very treasured friend over the lincoln group -- she is a very treasured friend of the lincoln group. and one of our members. she always provides us with well-crafted, meaningful remarks.
she is an author, much published. the chair of the history department at howard and co-author of the publication "the emancipation proclamation review." and editor of the price of freedom series, slavery and the civil war. we also have if you have not seen the series by southern illinois university press, she is the author of "lincoln and emancipation." and if you do not know the series, you should become acquainted with it. it is a series of articles, publications, small books, really good stocking stuffers about lincoln, a variety of topics. and by our most noted lincoln experts. let me read you a little review from this publication. this is by john martzlack, the executive director of the grant presidential library. medford's account does justice to the role of president abraham lincoln in the freeing of the slaves and to the role of african-americans and their self emancipation.
her research is thourough and her insight cogent. medford had created the masterpiece that students of civil war and african-american history must read. and if you do not have a copy, we have a publication table downstairs for you and so this publication is available to review and look at and to purchase. professor medford is also a valued advisor to many boards. she is on the lincoln bicentennial foundation board. lincoln study center, abraham lincoln institute, she also has served on the scholar is advisory council for president lincoln's year in washington, d.c. lincoln's cottege here in washington, d.c. she received a special award in 2009 from the state of illinois for her lincoln studies and last but not least, she received our own lincoln group award a few years ago. she is a respected historian and
valued friend of the lincoln group. today, she is going to be talking on one of i think the most important legacies of lincoln in the civil war era, the story of the african american. so please welcome edna greene medford. [applause] professor medford: thank you for that fine introduction. i was wondering who you were talking about for a moment there. i was given permission to close this because i am so short you may not be able to see me. i would like to thank the lincoln group of d.c. for the opportunity to present at this morning and especially to present at this pulpit. this is a very special thing. i had no idea that this was so
special. i am delighted to be one of the few to be able to present from this pulpit this morning. in august 1865, nearly four months after the civil war ended, jordan anderson, 40-year-old former property of patrick henry anderson sr. of big spring, tennessee dictated a letter that was intended for delivery to his former owner. the slaveholder had requested that anderson and his family return to big spring to work at the old plantation where his owner assured him he would be treated fairly. the enslaved man had received his freedom from the local provost marshal a year earlier. and, after working at a hospital in nashville, had made his way to dayton, ohio. the letter he sent to his owner
reflected all of the confidence and determination one would expect of a free man. i am doing well here, he said. i get $25 a month including food and clothing. a comfortable home for mandy. the folks call her mrs. anderson and the children go to school and are learning well. although he maintained a although he maintained a respectful tone outside of the dripping sarcasm you will note at a moment, anderson did not hesitate to get down to business. "now if you will write and say what wages you will give me," he pressed, "i will be able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again." anderson pointed out he already had his freedom so there was no incentive to return to tennessee.
as his former owner had suggested. as a test of patrick's sincerity, jordan asked he and his wife receive the wages owed for the many years of uncompensated labor. "i served you faithfully for 32 years," he recalled "and mandy 20 years. at $25 a month for me and two dollars a week for mandy, our earnings would amount to $11,680. " once interest was added and deductions made for clothing and occasional medical care, anderson believed the balance would show what we are entitled to. the freed man was interested in noting if schools had been established to teach children of color.
as the great desire of his life, he indicated, was "to give my children in education and have them form virtuous habits." since this letter was first published by a local newspaper, there has been much debate about the authenticity. many doubt a former slave could have articulated his needs and desires so skillfully. perhaps the skeptics are justified in their skepticism. the white man to whom anderson dictated the letter may have polished its words but the aspirations expressed, the expectation of pay for honest labor, the right to live a dignified life, education for one's children, and opportunity to guide the moral development reflected the sentiment of freed black men and women, both the formerly enslaved as well as freeborn. when the war began four years earlier, black men and women did
not have the expectation. they had already suffered more than two centuries of exploitation and abuse in america. the nearly 4 million enslaved in 1860 could expect only continued drudgery and subjugation. while slavery had been eliminated from the north, it remained entrenched through the southern region and was characterized by uncompensated labor, separation of family, physical and psychological brutality, and basic inhumanity. even though those who were free could look forward only to second-class status, denied voting rights even in most of the northern states, relegated to the more menial occupations, barred from equal access to public accommodations in school and physical abuse from even and especially actually newly arrived immigrants.
they were treated as if they were a foreign entity in the land of their birth. long before dred scott versus sanford made it official, free african-americans recognized that they had no rights which white men were bound to respect. lincoln's actions during the war and the experiences of african americans during those years helped to alter the trajectory of black life. the emancipation proclamation began the process of transforming people held as human property into legally recognized human beings. men accustomed to obeying the every command of white men and women were transformed into soldiers, fighting to secure their own freedom as well the serving as a liberating force for their people.
mothers and fathers heretofor denied authority over their children could now protect them from exploitation. black women denied status of their white counterparts enjoy ed the respectability that came with legally sanctioned marriages. what those events did as well was to expand black aspirations. just as antebellum slave holders insisted on keeping their illiterate, knowing that the ability to read spoiled the slaves for servitude. although it may not have in clearly defined, equality of
opportunity became a principle focus for the newly emancipated as well as for the prewar freed. their tradition of agitation and protest that had marked black efforts to secure justice and equality in the prewar years were strengthened as african-americans, encouraged by the possibility created by emancipation, pressed even more forcefully to achieve the rights of other americans. african-american aspirations during the war and in the ensuing years centered around three essential ingredients of equality. economic independence, education, and political rights. what the order of importance dictated by prewar status and geographic location. and i think i probably differ from many historians because i think that economic independence was more important than anything else. i think many historians think political rights were first and foremost and i do not think that at all.
i think maybe men in the north freed or born free had recognized that they were not considered citizens for political rights but what is happening in the south usually is a greater emphasis on economic independence. the pursuit of each threatened compromise social order that had been carefully constructed and maintained since before the founding of the nation. former slave owners and former slaves envisioned a different future for america. men and women who had always been in control of a perceived inferior group could hardly had imagined equality with their former property. the former slave contrarily could hardly imagine anything else. they were well aware of what slavery had denied them and they were equally determine to
seize upon whatever opportunity presented themselves that would mitigate its adverse effects. that black-and-white interests were destined to clash became immediately apparent in the former slaves' quest for economic independence. real freedom, african-americans believed, came from control over the terms and conditions of their labor. so as former owners sought to return to the old system of coerced and cheap, if not uncompensated labor, the freed men and women resisted and refusing to sign contracts that were commonly negotiated after 1865 by the freed men bureau agency.
the rural environment of the 19th century, economic independence was achievable through land ownership which connoted status as well. one that extended beyond wealth. they had always had a emotional connection to the land where they lived. these were places that could be akin to hell but where the slaves could find a sense of belonging. a louisiana planter complained, the free people believe the plantations and everything on them belonged to them, it was because of their labor had produced the great wealth of these areas and this was home. logic dictated then that with the union victory and black freedom, the former slave would inherit the land, or at least share it with former owners. this is the logic as seen by people who had been enslaved in the south. this was the motivation for a group of black religious leaders
who met in january 1864 with secretary of war edwin stanton and major general william t. sherman. the men, from 26-year-old freeborn james lynch to 72-year-old former slave taylor, represented the aspirations of african-americans who inhabited coastal island areas of south carolina and georgia. nine of the group had been freed during the war. five had never known slavery. two of the churches represented would've been comparable to the large institutions of today with congregations ranging from 1200 to 1800 worshipers. that is a big church during that period.
it would have been dwarfed by the mega-churches of today. the delegation selected 67-year-old garrison fraser who had administered to the spiritual needs of his people for 35 years. they selected him as their official spokesman, bypassing the five freeborn men. it is interesting they turn to someone who had been enslaved rather than someone born free. eight years earlier, fraser had purchased himself and his wife for $1000 in gold and silver. his precarious health prevented him from pastoring a church and one wonders where does a black man get $1000. one wonders where he got $1000, but remember where he is. he is enslaved in the area, coastal area south carolina where there is a tax system and once you finish with what you need to do, you can be put out to work for somebody else. the owner is willing to give a small portion of the money back to the laborer and so over a lifetime, someone could actually save enough money to purchase
his or her freedom if the owner is in agreement to that. fraser attempted to assure the union man of the former slaves loyalty to the government and capacity to provide for themselves. "the way we can best take care of ourselves," he suggests, is -- "is to have a land and turn it until it by our own labor and maintain ourselves and have something to spare. we want to be placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our own." for fraser and other free people, the acquisition of land was the most tangible evidence
they had escaped some of the disabilities slavery had imposed. not the ability to cast a ballot or hold public office or unimportant. certainly voting rights mattered. former slaves understood their rights as free men could not be maintained without the ability to determine what the laws would impact their lives. the thrust for the elected franchise emanated primarily from the freeborn and the prewar freed blacks had been denied the rights of citizenship as i indicated earlier. the recently emancipated, freedom could only be achieved through economic independence. other factors can be of secondary concern. aspirations among freed men and women for possession of the land they had worked without compensation increased with the plight of the planters in the
face of union advance. certain areas of the south, plantations and farms were confiscated for nonpayment of the direct tax levied on all of these. such land was subject to sale. prices that made purchase exceedingly difficult for the free people. even when they pooled their meager resources, they really rarely could gather enough funds to compete financially with white investors. many of whom were from the north. their inability to acquire the land through normal means led some to appeal to the man who had declared them free. one would be a landowner from the sea island, eloquent in sentiment, pleaded with the whites to "tell lincoln that we want the land. this very land rich with the sweat and blood of we back."
he explained they were born on the land and their parents were buried in its soil. black men had fought with the union forces at fort wagner and in florida. and wherever the government had sent them, the man requested that lincoln instruct those in charge to apportion the lots in a way that would be more accessible to the local black population. a solution seemingly came in the form of general sherman's special order number 15. although its motivation was not so much inspired by the lament of black farmers but by the general's desire to rid himself of the burden presented by thousands of destitute former slaves who had attached themselves to his army, free d people were given a whole. within a few days of meeting with black religious leaders, sherman issued an order that the islands from charleston to northern florida and the abandoned rice fields from the
coastal regions, 30 miles inland , would be reserved for settlement by black men and women who had been made free by the acts of war and president's proclamation. sherman further stipulated with the exception of military personnel detailed for duty, no white person would be allowed to live on the island and in the settlements established by the order. black people would have complete charge of the areas, levied only by the authority of the u.s. government. land would be distributed in plots of not more than 40 acres. each head of household would receive a possessory title and so eventually what would happen was it was assumed they would acquire enough funds to purchase the land outright. believing their future would be secured, the free people settled
on the land, but their hopes were dashed a few years later when the original owners were allowed to regain possession. this is after lincoln leaves the scene, after he is assassinated and andrew johnson, who hated southern planters, decided it is really interesting to rub elbows with these rich guys. and so he starts doing them favors, he pardons them one by one. they are able to get their land back. general oliver directed the freed men bureau and had the task of notifying the freed men that the land they thought of as their own would have to be surrendered and the freed men should make peace with their former masters. "you ask us to forgive the landowners of the island," they responded bitterly in a petition to the civil war hero.
"you only lost your right arm in war and might forgive them. the man who tied me to a tree and gave me 39 lashes and who stripped and flogged my mother and my sister and who will not let me stay in his empty hut except i will do his planting and be satisfied with his price and combines with others to keep away land from me well knowing i would not have anything to do with him if i had land of my own. that man i cannot forgive." despite the ultimate loss, the free people were fortunate since most african-americans never got the chance to possess the land even for a short time. instead, they usually labored on government farms, on lands leased again to northerners and southern white men. occasionally a group of
african-americans managed to rent some acreage and some the groups were black men who served in the union army and got bounties for their service. these lands were cultivated by the free people for wages but the arrangement resembled too closely what they had known under slavery. in louisiana, for instance, the system of free labor instituted by general banks allowed freed men to choose their place of employment but forced them to sign labor contracts for the entire year. any infractions of the rules, rules imposed by the land owner, of course, whether insolence or disobedience could result in forfeiture for pay or arrest.
"every colored man would be a slave until he can raise his own bale of cotton and put his own, and say this is mine" suggested prince rivers, a sea island resident served with the south carolina volunteers. in the post emancipation era, most was sharecropping. financially unable to rent the land for cash, they agreed to cultivate someone else's property in exchange for a portion of the harvest. had the system operated fairly, it might have been an acceptable solution to the problem of limited funds on both sides. instead, dishonest bookkeeping and a culture of intimidation and exploitation diminished the potential of freed people to achieve the economic independence they sought.
recognitions of the benefits of literacy also shaped and expanded black aspirations in the post-emancipation era. as soon as possible, the free people sought to learn to read and had moved quickly to establish schools for their children. having been denied literacy because of its ability to mentally liberate the enslaved, in freedom they recognized the practical and psychological value of education. "in slavery, you could not let your master see you read," one person testified that had convened in south carolina in june of 1863. "but now the colored people are fond of sending their children to school because the children in after years will be able to tell us ignorant ones how to do for ourselves."
during the war the army helped to prepare enslaved people to take advantage of new literacy opportunities. more ever black men enlisted in military service, efforts arose. similarly, the young and old took advantage of any opportunities made available to them to improve their minds. when the war ended and freed people settled in a new routine, they benefited from the schools established by the freed men's bureau and pooled resources to purchase books or secure a teacher. black men and women who owned land, usually the people who were freeborn and had land might contribute an acre of which a school could be built. such efforts did not go
unchallenged. those opposed to black education destroyed schoolhouses or intimidated teachers for when black men were able to vote and serve in legislatures, they implemented public school education. the segregated system in the south allocated fewer dollars for black schools, many of which were one room, multilevel facilities. it was not unusual to find one teacher trying to deal with 85 students who were multiple ages. a range of ages and at different levels of advancement. and in rural areas, local residents closed down the schools, the black schools for weeks so there would be nothing to keep black children from laboring in the fields during peak periods. and of course this happens against the wishes of the parents. these are not black parents closing the schools but white landowners who are going to the authorities and closing the schools for black children so
they could have these workers in the field. lincoln had understood the importance of education for people constrained by previous conditions and crushing poverty. his own education had not prevented him from pursuing wealth and influence. he had enjoyed opportunities to make up for the deficiency that were not open to the average enslaved person. when he issued his december 1863 proclamation of amnesty which outlined the conditions under which the defeated state could be readmitted to the union, he stipulated they would be required to recognize the freedom of the former slaves and should provide for their education as well. just as african-americans recognized the power of education, they understood that freedom could not be secured without a political voice. no southern states permitted black men to vote at the
beginning of the war, even those who were freeborn property owners. even though a couple of states extended the franchise to certain groups of black men and the decades after the revolution in the south. generally they were denied access to polls since the mid-1830's. the south was not alone. free black men and the north shared the disadvantage and all but five states where they voted on an equal footing with white men. they were able to vote in new york but a property requirement and a residency requirement for black men that do not exist for white men in new york. it was this unjust law that agitated frederick douglas who was a resident of the state of new york in the period.
black men in places such as pennsylvania and new york had complained of the disadvantage for decades and continue to agitate against the injustice throughout the war. they tied the right to vote to the service black men were rendering to the union cause on the battlefield. frederick douglas's argument that the black man could not be denied a political voice was he had donned the union blue and have risked his all for the cause resonated with black men across the country. southern black men freeborn and free did not wait for their right to vote. indicative of their efforts is a petition signed by 1000 black men delivered to lincoln in 1864 requesting that they be allowed to register.
they were residents of new orleans, many of them members of the relatively prosperous free black community. their wealth and education, the product of generations of freedom and privilege as a consequence of their intimate collection with a long-established european families and i mean by intimate connections these were the sons of some of the most prominent planters in the area. their backgrounds often rivaled the backgrounds of their white neighbors. perhaps the president was influenced by their success and their apparent readiness for citizenship. in any case, he privately urged michael hahn, the governor of louisiana, to extend voting rights to some of the black residents. although his private appeals were not successful, he publicly
endorsed voting rights for black men in his last address three days before his assassination. the opportunity came two days after general lee surrendered his army of northern virginia, virtually ending the war, and his remarks to those gathered at the white house to congratulate him on union victory, lincoln had addressed the issue of louisiana's failure to extend the vote. he played that failure in the best light, suggesting even though the state had not chosen to grant the voting rights to black men it had made provisions to consider it at a later date. he was quick to add however that he personally would have preferred extending the vote to
those who were very intelligent and those who serve as soldiers. he is talking about those guys in new orleans because they certainly are better educated, better informed than many other white men in the south who are allowed to vote and have no restrictions at all. just a few months before in nashville, black residents of the city had petitioned the union convention about their inability to vote. after thanking the government for the emancipation proclamation, they asked the state to abolish the last vestige of slavery by the express words of the organic law and reminded the state that free residents had voted for 39 years from 1796 to 1835 and they did so without embarrassment. they argued that nearly 200,000 black men were fighting for preservation of the union and had thus earned citizenship rights. the government had asked the colored man to fight for its preservation and gladly has he
done it, the petitioners continue. "it can afford to trust him with the vote as safely as entrusted him with the bayonet." the quest for voting rights continued after the war and carbonated in the end of the decade in the 15th amendment. the extension of the elective franchise place african-american men not simply to vote for white candidates who championed issues important to black people but place themselves in nomination as well. often to the disappointment of white candidates. in certain states with large black populations, sometimes able to prevail at the local and state levels. andrew johnson over the reconstruction process and able to more radical elements in congress to take charge and for
a brief time, a few black men made it to the halls of congress. and in the meantime, black men and women over the nation challenged discriminatory legislation and practices that sanctioned disparate treatment on streetcars and polls, imposed anti-immigration laws, banned people from carrying the mail and excluded witnesses for federal court based on race. the premier national vehicle for the promotion of equal rights that attempted to attack these kinds of injustices during the war had been the national convention of color citizens of the united states. one of the conventions were held in syracuse in 1864. at that convention, 144 delegates from 18 states arrived
, were actually represented including seven from the south, including virginia, north carolina, south carolina, florida, mississippi, tennessee, home of everybody at the table. a similar declaration a demand for the immediate and unconditional abolition of slavery. this was before the 13th amendment passed. the right to resist colonization outside the united states, something that was championed by lincoln for a while, and the enjoyment of the rights of other citizens. "we claim we are by right
entitled to respect," the declaration claimed, before adjourning, they pledged for the rights of the color people as american citizens. a couple of weeks ago, i offered remarks on lincoln's legacy of equality of opportunity and failure of a nation to support his belief the right of all people to enjoy the principles of the declaration of independence. breaking with the practice of long-standing not to read other people's reactions to my words i read a blog about the address that included comments about my remarks. as i suspected, the reaction was less than laudatory. one memorable comment read, and i quote, "the libees always think equal opportunities results in equal results."
there were other remarks about how the asian population and latino population seems to have no problem with advancement because they have family values and they want to work and help each other and african-americans do not. i will let that one slide for the moment. actually, i agreed with the first commentator when he talks about equal opportunity not necessarily resulting, on not really, does not have to result in equal rights. but he misses a point. results are shaped by ability and commitment. i think we all understand that. but what do the commentator misses is that without equality of opportunity, the disadvantaged faces an unfair
burden while the advantaged is elevated. he also missed the point that a people who are denied opportunity can not aspire to anything greater than what they have experienced. if one cannot see the potential, one cannot rise above the artificial barriers that are placed in one's way. lincoln provided opportunities that allowed black men and women to see the potential and encouraged them to push to even greater heights. their aspirations soared beyond simply the destruction of slavery. they saw the possibilities before them as seized upon every instance to remove the disadvantages they had been forced to endure for more than two centuries. for a brief moment, they enjoy ed some degree of success. their quest would've please lincoln because it epitomized his believe in the rights of all americans to equal access to all that the nation had to offer. he would've recognized the
failure to succeed fully can be attributed not to any lack of ability or commitment on their part but rather to the on unreadiness of americans of that era to extend equality of opportunity that lincoln knew would be essential to the successful integration of former slaves into american society as free men. in his message to congress in 1861, lincoln characterized the union effort as defense of a government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all and unfettered start and fair chance in the race of life. and i assume when he said elevate the condition he included women in that as well. at least i do.
it is a statement that celebrates equality of opportunity, that defines american exceptionalism. essentially it represents an ideal that should be as relevant and appropriate in our own time as it was in lincoln's. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. for you address. could you describe in some detail some of the early lawsuits, economic lawsuits that were filed by freed blacks? what kind of cases? were the representation of black attorneys or white attorneys and who were the defendants? and the outcomes? professor medford: before after the war?
for reparations? >> you were talking about economics, not have to do with voting rights to economic cases. perhaps cases where they were given legal rights but the whites did not respect those rights and did they take their cases to courts? professor medford: we have to remember after the civil war, the people who had been in charge of the south were still in charge after the war. once these states were redeemed, white men had full control over these places. if you are talking about rural areas, they certainly get
control earlier, because, first of all you have these codes , black codes established where a black man cannot vote or serve on juries or hold public office. there are curfews put in place. people have to register before they can live in a particular community. that kind of thing. people are generally not bringing these lawsuits locally. not in the south. because there is no one there to hear it. the judge is the brother or the cousin of the people who are preventing these folks from having their rights. and so you are not going to be a newly emancipated black man or woman trying to live in the south and bringing a suit for your rights. because you will end up dead if you do that. while the freed men's bureau is there, there is a bit of protection. the problem is the federal troops in place do not always support the black people as they are there to protect.
and in any respects. if you look at the freed men's court records and complaints of going to those courts. these white men who are serving as the judges in many essences -- instances are not really siding with the local black community and siding with the white community. generally, you will not have a lot of cases of ink brought area -- being brought, the kinds of rights that african-american would receive before the decade is over is national law. beginning with the 13th amendment that is ratified in 1865, slavery is eliminated throughout the country. you have 8000 people still enslaved once the emancipation proclamation was issued. there are many people not freed immediately by the proclamation. just because lincoln issued it
on january 1, 1863 does not mean southern whites are abiding by the ruling, just ignoring it. because he has no authority there. black men and women have to get to the union line. or they run away. in terms of rights, the 13th amendment in december 1865 as a 14th amendment granting citizenship and due process of the constitutional amendment and the ratification of the right to vote, the 15th amendment in 1870. but these are national laws. and these national laws are not always recognized in the states. there are still attempts to suppress the black vote and all kinds of ways that people are not receiving due process. [inaudible] >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> professor medford: they are
actually filing case in the late 19th century. you have got for instance still a national matter and plessy versus ferguson which goes to the supreme court and what is says that separate is ok and black people have no recourse. this is an instance where our government sanctions discrimination against black people. the national government sanctions discrimination. of course, you have got many more of those cases. cases about voting, cases about due process coming into the 20th century. >> i read in the paper recently that at the level of lead in the blood of freddie gray was bad enough so that the doctor looked at it said, jesus, here never
seen anything like that. i am wondering, what do you think or do you think and it seems it is getting lost in the arguments and the demonstrations about police brutality, that what you are talking about, the economic opportunity, is that being emphasized enough? do you think the approach of the protests is adequate to address that awful problem? professor medford: you are right. it is much more than a group of police personnel acting up and killing people. and keep in mind the majority of the police do not do that. it is a group of people who are. but it is becoming more prevalent and truly frightening. it is not that it just started happening either. it is always been there.
it is just that people have phone cameras and it is recorded now in a way and revealed in a way we have not seen it before. it is more than just police brutality. this is about a culture of disrespect for people of color. especially poor people. of color. but also i will give you an example. i do not think anybody will consider me, this is not police brutality. i do not think anybody will consider me a threat or offensive. at least, i do not consider myself a threat. but, i have had two different people, one person spit on me. at virginia beach several years ago. i was doing nothing except crossing the street. recently, outside of ford's theater, i passed a group of students and one of them decided to spit immediately in front of me.
okay? i am just a black woman walking down the street. but this student felt that he could do this and get away with it. and he did. okay? so i think it is more than just what the police are doing but where we stand as a society. we are disrespected even if we are simply going about our business. we do not know yet what the situation is with the gentleman who was killed in baltimore except six police officers are being prosecuted for his death. hopefully everything will come out, you know, when the case is over. what we do know is there is heightened instances of this kind of behavior and just a rudeness toward african-americans.
and i see a difference as recently as 2008. now, i know all of us here in 2008 when president obama was elected said we are in a post-racial society. so things are going to be so much better because look what america was able to do. america was able to elect a black man and it was done with the support of white people. black people could not have put him in office online. alone. we really thought, some people thought we turned the corner. i think what we are seeing in recent months especially and in the last two years is will not turn to corner at all unless that corner is in the wrong direction. i think because there is a black man in the white house, there
are some people who are so incensed at the idea. so we could celebrate this victory over racism perhaps in 2008 but was it really a victory? not when we are seeing the kind of animosity. i do not recall any president who suffered the kind of abuse that this president does except for perhaps abraham lincoln because he suffered quite a bit as well. okay? but this president has suffered the kind of abuse that we do not see frequently. and what the difference is there? i just, i think we need to be aware of where we are moving because we are moving in a dangerous direction. unless we're able to recognize that there are people out there who are frustrated. i know what happened in baltimore was disconcerting to a lot of people, both the death of the young men and looting afterwards.
people were in the street genuinely upset about what happened in other people in the streets taking advantage of the situation as always happens in instances like this. we need to build a separate the two. [applause] you are watching american history jay-z. -- tv. follow us on twitter for more information and to keep up with history news. >> monday on "the communicators, " why the communication process takes work. >> what was the process they the because they were not first people to have the idea of
building a flying machine and were not the first to try so why did they succeed? and the answer is that they understood the problem better than anybody else. at the end of the day, being about ideas in the shower or lightning bolts of inspiration, it is about solving problems one step at a time. it was the key to starting on the course. ashton, monday night on "the communicators." week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places. mr. crouch: hi, my name is tom crouch.